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Judaic Audio Lectures, Panel Discussions, Author Talks, Workshops & More

The AJL Podcast brings you the best talks on Jewish literature and the Jewish library world, with respected experts and popular authors. Please check back periodically, as new lectures will be added to the series.


You can subscribe to the AJL Podcast via iTunes or by entering http://feeds.feedburner.com/ajlpodcast into your favorite feed reader. You can also receive new posts via email. Or listen to the latest episode by phone at (651) 925-2538.


Use the links on the left to select a category of interest or to use our index.


The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jewish in Eastern Europe (edited by Prof. Gershon Hudert of McGill University) was published in two volumes in 2008. Two years later, the enhanced digitized version was finalized and made accessible on the Web. As copy chief of this unparalleled project, which covers the history and culture of Jews in the region from Renaissance times until the early 21st century, Joyce Rappaport describes the process of compiling, editing, and transitioning to its Web-based mode. She shows how both versions are valuable resources for librarians, scholars, and the general reader.

Presented by Joyce Rappaport at the 2011 AJL Convention in Montreal, Quebec.

20 min 50 sec

Posted in: RAS
This keynote presentation was given by Ruth R. Wisse, Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University, and a former director of its Center for Jewish Studies.

Presented at the 2011 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Montreal, Quebec.

51 min 15 sec

Posted in: RAS

Presented by Dov haCohen of the Ben Tzvi Institute at the AJL Regional Conference on November 3, 2010 at the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem.

45 min

Tags: Israel
Posted in: RAS

Presented by Yitzhak Yudelov, retired Director of the Institute for Hebrew Bibliography at the National Library of Israel, at the AJL Regional Conference, November 3, 2010, at the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem.

51 min 50 sec

Posted in: RAS

This is a follow-up to Zachary Baker’s presentation at the June 2007 AJL convention where he provided an overview of the Eliasaf Robinson Collection on Tel Aviv. Acquired by Stanford at the end of 2005, the collection includes rare archival documents, ephemera, maps, posters, and photographs, along with several hundred books, pamphlets, and journals devoted to Tel Aviv from its founding in 1909 until Israel declared its independence in 1948. Since 2007, about half of the collection’s monographs and serials, and about 40% of its archival materials have been digitized and are now accessible via the Standford University Libraries’ digital collections website. In this presentation, Zachary will discuss the decision-making process that went into selection of items for digitization, the interactions between different departments that were required in order to make the project succeed, intellectual property issues connected with providing access to digitized collection, and the end product: the multi-faceted Standford website for the Eliasaf Robinson Collection.

Presented by Zachary Baker at the 2010 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle, WA.

53 min 30 sec

Posted in: RAS

The presentation analyzes contemporary evangelic apocalyptic fiction with respect to the portrayal of Jews and Judaism. It examines 38 novels published in the United States between 1991 and 2009. These novels, which includes themes of Christian triumphalism, conversion to Christianity, and horrific Jewish suffering in the final days of mankind on earth, are consistent with theological principles of evangelical premillenial dispensationalism in that Jews are seen as apocalyptic agents both in suffering as well as in conversion.

Presentation by Mark Stover at he 2010 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle, WA.

1 hr 15 min 47 sec

Posted in: RAS, SSC

Over time, the University of Maryland Libraries have been aggressively developing their Judaica collections. Through donations and purchases from private individuals and larger institutions, the Libraries have acquired tens of thousands of volumes in this subject area. The growth has far exceeded cataloging capacity, resulting in a significant backlog that is invisible to selectors and patrons alike. In order to make these materials available, catalogers at UM Libraries have developed procedures that make use of in-process records, which have since been applied to other large backlogs. This paper describes the procedures and discusses their advantages and disadvantages.

Presented by Jasmin Nof at the 2010 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle, WA.

24 min 05 sec


Posted in: RAS

A discussion of the history of Jewish businessmen in the western United States beginning in the 19th century. The presenter describes how she was able to gather all of this information.

Presented by Julia Eulenberg at the 2010 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle, WA.

34 min 41 sec

Posted in: RAS, SSC

The use of mobile devices in libraries is an ever-growing area of development. With the advent and broad usage of mobile devices (PDA’s, iPhones, etc.), the demand for and the ability to use these devices in library settings continue to grow. Issues to be addressed include: library policy with regard to mobile devices, ability to use in the Judaica framework (i.e. character support for mobile application or catalog accessed by mobile device, a look at the uses, needs, and desires of university/graduate students with regard to availability of information in mobile format, and a general look at the use of mobile devices in higher education institutions.

Presented by Tina Weiss at the 2010 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle, WA.

27 min 08 sec

Posted in: RAS

This session on the Sephardic community of Seattle focuses on what made these people come to Seattle, what they found when they arrived, the community’s first religious leaders, interaction between the two distinct Sephardic groups, and relations between Sephardim and Ashkenazim.

Presented by Cantor Isaac Azose at the 2010 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle, WA.

39 min 45 sec

Posted in: RAS, SSC

A two-part presentation by Zvi Bernhardt.

1. Yad Vashem Reference and Information Services: On Integrating “Corporate Cutlures” in a Reference Setting

Ten years ago, Yad Vashem combined the reference service units of its library, archive, photo archive, and Hall of Names. This decision stemmed from its commitment to consumer based reference service and a belief that in the digital era, library and archive service are converging. The presentation describes the difficulties in combining the “Corporate Cultures” of the various departments, including the resistance of some staff and administration to the change. It describes the mode of work of the staff and how its self-perception has evolved to mesh more closely with the needs of the public.

2. Yad Vashem Online and Offline

The Yad Vashem Internet presence now includes a wealth of resources, including the Database of Shoah Victims’ Names, photo archive, library catalog, Shoah Resource Center, most of the scholarly articles published by Yad Vashem, and dozens of stories of Righteous among the Nations. Many of the online databases use special thesauri developed in Yad Vashem that allow a user to search any version of a place or personal name and get the same results, even if the names have no phonetic connection (for exampe: Pressburg and Bratislava). In addition, Yad Vashem provides online services to assist the pbulic, including basic research in its collections that are not online, for genealogical and schoarly research, and the Yad Vashem Bar/Bat Mitzvah “twinning” program.

Presented by Zvi Bernhardt at the 2010 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle, WA.

1 hr 24 min 33 sec

Posted in: RAS

During the two World Wars, Yiddish theater in Argentina, especially Buenos Aires, constituted a major cultural practice, thanks to the high rate of Yiddish readers in the community. Buenos Aires was considered the capital of Yiddish poetry and literature, compared only to Warsaw, Moscow and New York. This session shows “the golden age” of Yiddish theater in Argentina.

Presented by Rita Saccal at the 2010 AJL Convention in Seattle, WA.

25 min 49 sec

Posted in: RAS, SSC

Yiddish and Hebrew books were published in Winnipeg beginning in at least 1910 and reaching a peak in the 1940′s. We discuss the history of these books and their authors, as well as their connection to Jewish life in Winnipeg.

Presented by Faith Jones at the 2010 AJL Convention in Seattle, WA.

28 min 08 sec

Posted in: RAS, SSC

The National Library of Israel is currently going through a renewal process. This lecture describes the stages of this renewal and how we expect to see the NLI in 2020.

Presented by Dr. Aviad Stollman at the 2010 AJL Convention in Seattle, WA.

29 min 50 sec

Posted in: RAS

Over the past several years, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum has undertaken vast digitizing projects. More than 10 million pages were involved. This presentation includes descriptions of digitized large collections, problems encountered with storage, access, quality control, and restrictions issues, and plans for the future of the Museum’s archival collections.

Presented by Michlean Amir at the 2010 AJL Convention in Seattle, WA.

40 min 31 sec

Posted in: RAS

This presentation discusses the process of appraisal, evaluation, and the relative values of out-of-print and rare Judaica and Hebraica in the marketplace. We review Judaica auctions, online book search engines, and the trade, and address the process of librarians reviewing their own collections to determine the presence of valuable or rare materials and the problems associated with such works.

Presented by Eric Chaim Kline at the 2010 AJL Convention in Seattle, WA.

37 min 26 sec

Posted in: RAS

Columbia University’s library has thousands of Hebrew rare books and manuscripts (including several Geniza fragments), primarily from the 12th-19th centuries. This collection was previously unknown to the scholarly community until Columbia recently began cataloging it. This presentation describes the unique nature of the collection, along with some of the cataloging challenges that it presents.

Presented by Yoram Bitton at the 2010 AJL Convention in Seattle, WA.

20 min 16 sec

Posted in: RAS

MyHeritage.com, an Israeli hi-tech genealogy company, recently partnered with Beit Hatfutsot (Museum of the Jewish People, Tel Aviv) to help the museum fulfill its main goal of preserving the history of the Jewish people via collection family trees from visitors and students participating in the annual “My Family Story” international competition. With this partnership, the museum has been able to provide individuals with a free state-of-the-art technology tool to help them build and research their family trees and to significantly increase data collected for Beit Hatfutsot database. Learn about this success story, the distribution channels used, the support offered, the goals achieved, and future plans.

Presented by Daniel Horowitz at the 2010 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle, WA.

44 min 39 sec

Posted in: RAS

In this two-part presentation, we offer a virtual tour of AJL’s online presence (including the AJL website, blog, podcast, and Facebook page as well as AJL’s Jewish ValuesFinder database). Then we move beyond AJL to explore other Jewish literary websites, blogs, and podcasts. Our emphasis is on “social media” and how we can interact with these online resources rather than being passive consumers of content.

Presented by Heidi Estrin and Diane Romm at the 2010 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle.

1 hr 10 min 40 sec

Posted in: RAS, SSC

Panel members will discuss the Washington State Jewish Historical Society Archive (containing manuscripts, oral histories, photographs,and films), created and maintained for over 30 years by collaboration between the Washington State Jewish Historical Society and the University of Washington Libraries. The panel members are Karyl Winn, retired Curator of Manuscripts, University of Washington Libraries, who will speak about the history of the collaboration; Doris Steifel, Washington State Jewish Historical Society, will speak about the WSJHS’s experience and view of the collaboration; Nicolette Bromberg will discuss current projects to process collections and create online access to finding aids and photographs from the collections.

Presented at the 2010 AJL Convention in Seattle, WA.

1 hr 12 min 02 sec

Posted in: RAS

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